Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The mail wars of 2005

So I got home tonight after another 12 hour day and headache after fucking headache all day long to a surprise. Mail on the door step. We still get a few pieces of junk mail at SIL's house because Jose used to live there.

The problem is that it had rained. And every piece was soaking in water for who knows how long.

Included in the pile was a letter from the Alabama Revenue Department saying that we had made a mistake on our tax returns. Or actually Jose's uncle, or whatever he is, made a mistake. He used SIL's address for them instead of ours even though Jose hasn't lived there in at least 3 years. Why did I ever agree to let him do our taxes? GAH. I read the letter and we are owed $68. At least it was in our favor.

Otherwise we would have been extremely late paying them because the mail was 2 months old. Yes. TWO MONTHS OLD. That's the second problem.

I continued sifting through the mail. There was the check sent 2 days later.

The thing is that we STILL, STILL get some of their mail at our house. After THREE F-U-C-K-I-N-G years. Since SIL is such a loser, MIL has all of her bills in her name. We get most of them here. WE give it to them on time even though we've been trying to get them to get their own shit at their own houses for the past THREE YEARS. We don't give it to them TWO MONTHS later. And WE don't leave anything outside in the rain. IN THE RAIN. Thanks for giving me my mail TWO WHOLE MONTHS LATE and thanks again for letting it get rained on. Fuck you very much.

The mail wars have been over for several months but I guess they've gotten bored. This means I get to start redirecting their mail to their house through the postal service instead of giving it to them. Or I can leave it in the trash can for them. Maybe I'll throw it in what's left of the swimming pool for them. Or dip it in the toilet before I deliver it to them. Anything to return the favor.

Fucking bitches.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The day that will otherwise be known as the unluckiest day of this decade and probably the next

We had our Grand Opening on Thursday night, July 21st.

Jose and I had been having a lot of problems with his business partner which led to him giving her an ultimatum: either she starts doing what she’s supposed to do and showing up on time or she’s out. She decided to quit instead. He asked her to be there for the Grand Opening and she just didn’t show up. Her sister, who was the hostess, was let go Monday because she couldn’t mind her own business and caused a lot of problems. On purpose. The busboy was fired Thursday morning for not doing his job and having an attitude problem. Not to mention stealing money (which we never caught him doing, damnit). Ara, one of the servers, left to do something right before we opened and wasn’t back until almost noon. Meanwhile, we got slammed at about 11:30. Well, hey, we’re way short-staffed and this sucks but this is a good sign, right?

A radio station did a live remote for us from 4 – 7 pm and announced the winner of a trip for two to Orlando, Fla. We had been taking entries all week. People don’t usually start showing up until 6 or 6:30 pm. Why did they decided to be here so early? To attract people here earlier they said. They sat around. We sat around. They did a few live plugs. We got one table. An eccentric regular who always comes by himself and sits by the window. My dad came early to take pictures, but left around six because no one was there and probably because he was bored.

About 6:30, a few tables show up. They did the drawing for the trip about 6:45 because Scotty Mac had to be back on the air at 7 pm. (Why did we pay until 7? Oh yeah, they came a few minutes early.) They announced the winner on the air and left.

We found two busboys for the night just in case we needed them. We talked a server friend from another restaurant to come help us out for the night. We let one busboy and two servers go because it was so slow. Had the “Grand” Opening been a complete disaster?

Then we got slammed at almost 8 o’clock. We had almost lost hope. The day had been saved! Jose was starting to think we were cursed. Anyway, it worked out ok. We didn’t break any records, but it was pretty close. Everyone knows that whenever you have something big planned disaster strikes but this was ridiculous.

The next day some of our regulars returned. Where had they been? Why did they pick THURSDAY NIGHT to not come? That’s how we found out. The electricity in most of the surrounding area was out and they thought we would be closed. What the fuck? It had rained for a few minutes earlier in the afternoon about 4 pm and there was some serious lightning. I guess no one was listening to the radio. What a waste of money.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

GAH

MIL finally came to the restaurant yesterday. We have been open five weeks. I was standing at the bar with Jose and Wes when Wes said, “Hey, look who’s here.” I turned around. Oh shit. Jose asked me to go seat them. Yeah right. “You go fucking seat them.”

MIL, FIL and SIL’s kids came in and Jose put them directly behind me. From where I was standing and behind the freaking register. Thank you very much. I really want them that close to me. But it was fine. I acted like they were any other customers that I didn’t know. I didn’t say anything to them, they didn’t say anything to me. I didn’t even look their way except once and MIL was staring at me evilly. But then I continued ignoring them.

SIL’s kids didn’t even say anything to me and they ALWAYS do now when I pass by SIL’s house. Coaching? Threatening? I don’t know. When 5-year-old M. saw me looking at him, he turned his head quickly with a “What?” look on his face. When they were leaving, I said bye to 4-year-old N. She quickly said, “Bye Susana” and ran outside. Hmm. A little suspicious. And they usually both call me “tia,” aunt in Spanish. They always have. Now all of a sudden she calls me by my name? Tsk tsk. Fucking with children’s heads and bringing them into your bullshit. How fucking pathetic and psychotic.

Then to top off the ridiculousness, MIL says thank you to me when she leaves. From across the restaurant. I ignored her. This would be a nice gesture for a normal person, but to ignore me for months then say thank you to me in front of people so you’ll look good after you’ve just ignored me for the past hour? Why bother? Honestly, I wasn’t sure she had said anything to me until the busboy told me. I mean, why the hell would she say anything to me? I’m sure she’s telling everyone she knows that I was mean to her and see why she doesn’t like me? And Sam’s boyfriend, Marvin, who is a friend of MIL’s and everyone she knows was there at the next table. Hmm. Maybe he’ll tell everyone for her.

GAH

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Also, we figured out that the busboy has been stealing everyone’s tips. They had been making $90 to $100 a day then all of a sudden they started making $60 to $70 a day. When business started picking up. That makes no sense. And it coincides with when the busboy started working with us. To make it more obvious, Sam, who is the biggest moneymaker, made $65 Friday. Wes made $150-something and Ara made $130-something. That’s more than odd. The second cook told Ara that the busboy told him he had been stealing tips and Ara saw him actually do it once. She hasn’t been tipping him out since then because of it.

We set a trap for him Saturday night but it didn’t work. Everyone had been talking about him stealing all day and even though he doesn’t really speak English I’m sure understood some of it. And Jose made it so freaking obvious that we were up to something. He and Wes put a five-dollar bill and a one-dollar bill on a table between the salt and pepper shakers to see if he would take it. That would have been fine, but he also dropped a five-dollar bill by the register and put $2 on the bar. Ohhkay. That’s not a setup. So he didn’t take anything. Obviously.

And since he knew something was up, he got really pissed off and started slamming things around while he was cleaning up. He threw a tablecloth on the floor when Jose asked him to do something and dragged the chairs inside from the balcony, bumping them against the door. Then he argued about his check because he thought we weren't paying him enough. Hmm.
If he has been taking tips, he has probably stolen close to $1,000 over the past three weeks. On Friday, he must have stolen about $100 just from Sam. Instead of $65, she probably should have made $165. With his attitude, he will most likely be gone soon even if we don’t catch him stealing anything. Good riddance.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

It was good but...I threw everything up

A man came to the restaurant the other night about 15 minutes before closing. He sat at the bar (We FINALLY got our liquor license. Yay! Now we can serve alcohol.) and ordered a margarita.

Me: You were here the other night weren't you?
Man: Yes. I was here last night.
I remember you.
You know, I wanted to tell you guys...last night I got the shrimp something...
Quesadilla, fajitas, nachos?
Something like that. Anyway, I wanted to tell you guys...when I went home, I threw everything back up.
Everyone at the bar (no customers, thank God) stops what they are doing and looks at him.
Me: You threw everything up?
Man: Yes. I felt a lot better.
I had shrimp last night also. Nothing happened.
Something sure happened to me. Maybe it was something else.
Probably. I hope so.

Then he asked for a menu and ordered something to eat.

Ok. That was weird.

Later, he thanked everyone, said he enjoyed it, paid and didn't leave a tip. I can't wait to hear what he has to say next time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Our new favorite saying is, "We dodged a bullet!" said enthusiastically

The storm has passed. It wasn't too bad. Not here anyway, although it looks like Santa Rosa Island and Navarre Beach got it pretty bad. It only caused minor inconveniences for us. It was a category 4 at landfall and by the time it made it's way here, about 200 miles from the coast, it was a tropical storm. Music to our collective ears. That's from about 145 mph winds to about 70 mph. And A LOT less damage. The thing is that you never know how much they will actually slow down. It could have slowed to only a category 3. That would have been serious.

It started getting pretty windy late Sunday afternoon and around 6 pm we lost power. It didn't come back until 10:30 Monday morning. That sucked. It felt like a sauna. We went to sleep at 9 pm because there was nothing to do and it was miserable. And scary. The wind peeled up part of the roof over the porch which began flapping in the wind and hitting the top of the porch. It made the wind sound a lot worse than it was. What sucked even more was that everyone else nearby seemed to have power except us and a few other people. That's what happened last year after hurricane Ivan. But we got it back faster this time. After Ivan, we were without power that night, the next day and the next morning.

Nothing really happened at the restaurant. The power never went out there, but down the street a tree fell on the power lines and they didn't have power until Monday night. We got lucky with that. We were afraid we'd have to throw out a lot of food. The letters on our blinking arrow sign got blown around a little bit. But that's all.



Montgomery is the stopping point for most people fleeing hurricanes from Mobile to Panama City. All the hotels here and in the surrounding area were full. All day Monday, I-65 South was bumper to bumper with people going back home. Several people were 30 minutes to an hour late to work at the restaurant. It only got worse later in the day. By the afternoon, the interstate was a parking lot. People got out of their cars and started walking around. Think REM's "Everybody Hurts" video but for probably 50 to 100 miles or more. At least they have something to go home to.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


It started raining about 30 minutes ago. They eye is between Pensacola and Panama City right now.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

I see London, I see Dennis

Thinking of London and the family members of the victims.

Meanwhile, waiting for Dennis. Eek.

Montgomery's kind of between the two rain bands above the hurricane.



I was on the way to the restaurant today when I noticed some signs saying that the two left lanes on I-85 to I-65 South are closed. I wondered why at first and then remembered... evacuation. Have they closed the south bound lanes? Not that anyone would want to go south right now anyway. I found out later I was right. All four lanes from the coast to at least Montgomery, maybe beyond, are open to north bound traffic only. Supposedly for only the second time ever. I remember this happening before, but I don't remember it happening last year before Hurricane Ivan. Maybe it won't be THAT bad. I hope.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ho May Shi Ro?

I ordered Chinese the other day from a little place on the way home from the gym. Usually the people there are very nice but the girl at the counter had a bad day, I guess.

I ordered a shrimp roll, crab rangoons, and an egg drop soup.

"Ho may shi ro?"
"What?"
"Ho may shi ro!?"
"What!?"
"HO MAY SHI RO!?"
"Oh. How many shrimp rolls?"
Nods head.
"Just one."

She told me the total, I gave her the money and she grabbed it out of my hand. Then she basically threw the change at me. I sat down and waited for the food.

"YOU!"

I look up. She's pointing at me. Then she points at the food. I go get it and look in the bag to make sure everything else is there.

"Thank you."
She throws her hand up at me and I leave.

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News of the MIL

MIL called the restaurant yesterday.

Me: "La Zona Rosa, may I help you?"
MIL: "Yes. Someone call me from this number?"
Me: "No, I don't think so." I had the phone all night and I hadn't seen anyone call her. Anyway, Jose was gone.
"This number was in my phone that's why I call back."
"I don't know. It wasn't me and I don't think anyone else did."
"Ok. Thank you ma'am. Bye bye."
"Bye."

That was weird enough. I think she knows the name of our restaurant, so she should have known where she was calling when I answered the phone. And there's only two people there who would ever call her. And it would more than likely be Jose. And she knows I work at the register where the phone is, so why would she call me ma'am? I guess she's going to act like she's never met me. That's fine with me, I guess, but very strange. But why am I surprised? If something can be weird, she knows how to do it.

Now the really strange part. I asked Jose if he called her. He didn't. The only other person who may have called her was Sam. She said she didn't. Hmmm.

I wonder if she's going to start her weird phone antics again. Maybe she's going to start calling the restaurant and saying weird things when I answer. It was last summer that she called our house all the time to ask for Jose when she knew he had just left or to tell me stupid things, like telling me that Jose had just called her when he hadn't.

The good thing is that if someone else is nearby I don't have to answer the phone. And if I don't answer the phone when she calls, she'll get bored and stop calling. I know she doesn't call to talk to Jose. She never calls him first unless she wants something. She has to find any way she can to try to annoy me and remind me that I'm the only person in the world who doesn't like her and that she has so many friends. Even if they're only in her head.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Attack of the MIL Clones

We have a new waitress. She is exactly like MIL.

We had agreed not to hire any more females to work with us right now. We have enough drama with myself, Sam, Juana, Mari and Dana. And to add to that, most Mexican women seem to despise American women. I didn't want to take the chance that the next Mexican female would hate me for existing. But Jose agreed to meet with someone who needed a job and he and his partner, Juana, agreed to hire her. Besides the addition of drama, she also barely speaks English. Which is a problem for the customers.

She showed up for work her first day. Everyone thought she seemed nice including myself. After that day, she was anything but. The other problem is that she kisses Jose's and Juana's asses, while being rude to everyone else, especially me.

At first, she was as rude to me as she was to everyone else. She gave me mean looks, always got in my way, never spoke to me unless she absolutely had to. She basically did the same things to everyone else. Then she met MIL.

The story is that she, her husband and their son got kicked out of their house in Columbus, Ga. They were promised great jobs and a place to live if they came here but that never happened. They supposedly were staying in their car or driving all the way to Columbus, about 2 hours away from here, every night. Jose felt sorry for them (he can't help himself if someone's in trouble or needs help) and talked his sister into letting them stay with her for a while. That ended up being one night until they found someone else to stay with. They told Jose that SIL was going to have some other people staying with her and they had to leave, but I think SIL decided she didn't want them there.

The Girl, as we call her, husband and child had to meet MIL to get her permission to stay in SIL's house. MIL wanted to "make sure" with her spectacular judgment that they weren't going to steal everything in the middle of the night or kill SIL or make everyone like them more than MIL. MIL is under the delusion that because she owns the house, even though she doesn't live there, she has the final and only say in what goes on there. Therefore, The Girl and company met with MIL and after that, The Girl decided she hated me.

The next day, she was ruder than ever. She came to the register with a couple of tickets from a table. Instead of asking me to take care of them or just leaving them there for me to do, she slammed them down on the desk and yelled, "PLEASE!" This is exactly what you should do to piss me off. I got the change and threw it back at her. She sighed loudly and dramatically as she picked the change up off the counter (remind you of anyone yet?).

Next, I was walking to the kitchen while she was walking out. She held the door until I was close enough for it to slam in my face as she let it go. Now I was really pissed. She overheard me telling Wes, "If she wants to play games, I can play, too. I'm the wrong bitch to fuck with." After that, she practically jumped out of my way when I walked toward her and stopped looking at me at all. This should be fun on Tuesday when she goes back to work.

The Girl also doesn't answer by her name. People call her name several times and she doesn't answer. She doesn't have a hearing problem. She looks at them when everyone else does to see what they are talking about and she doesn't have a problem hearing anything else. And her name, Arady Vasalb, is the least Mexican-sounding and looking name I've ever heard. And I'm pretty sure she spelled it "Adary" one time. However, she looks when someone says "Maria." She gives me the screaming willies. *Shudder*